Confessions of a Cayce Doctor


Dr. Bob

Living Symbolically

“As we have indicated oft,
astrology and numerology and symbology are
all but the gateways or the signs of expression.”
Cayce 261-15

 Everyone’s life is filled with symbols: from dreams to events and people we encounter every day. We magnetize them into our lives day to day and lifetime to lifetime. We meet the opportunities and obligations, problems and challenges – including illnesses and injuries – which uniquely and perfectly fit us.

Now as for ages past, for those with open eyes, symbols are everywhere. All around us. And most importantly within us. Every THING is potentially a symbol from which we can learn. Every THING is also a piece of a bigger one. As a part, it contains and expresses essential information of the greater. It is a picture in miniature of the larger whole. A hologram. Symbols are thus intermediaries between spirit and matter.

Thence comes the importance of leaving the dictionary of symbols open to further interpretations. Symbols are not limited in meaning because some book said so. Symbols are expressions of something bigger than can be put into words, although we often must use them.

Dictionaries of dream symbols, mythical elements, fairy stories, archetypes, and the like can never give a complete lists of possible interpretations. What we take from any event or give to it, depends on the consciousness with which we perceive it. Which is often colored and altered by time and place. Symbols and their meanings are subject to change for all of us.

Let us take a simple example. The color RED can mean a host of things depending on the seer and the moment. Like all experiences, the meaning is in the “eye of the beholder.”

Let’s say we (a number of people standing together at some venue) see a young woman in a bright RED dress walk by. No doubt some one in the group will say, “She’s hot. Looking for a man.” Another sees with different eyes, “Oh. That is a lovely outfit. She sure is a stylish dresser.” A third comes out with, “That’s a powerful get-up. She is out to push someone over.” The pattern follows thus: Symbol – Experience – Perception – Interpretation – Meaning. And thus we live and move and act and try to make sense of our existence.

By the time I was ending my traveling workshops, I had gained much despite financial shortfalls. I knew that I could stand up in front of a crowd here or there or anywhere and keep its attention. I could interview individuals I had never met and get them to share their stories in front of numbers of total strangers including one from hundreds of miles away. I could use simple devices of stories and symbols and group interactions to produce moments of giving and sharing and even healing.

The real rewards I received for my efforts were found in the faces and words of participants, in their hugs, and in the knowledge that I had made a small difference in their lives even as they did the same for me. Certainly, the recompense for my time and energies were broader than I will probably ever know.

There are awesome energies constantly at work in and around us. “The greatest wonder of all wonders is, that we are insensible of the wonders that daily surround us.” (Lessing) So much happens in our lives – behind the scenes – so to speak. The older I get, the more I am convinced that the real works, like the real substance of our lives, are hidden from our view. Such a perspective, once taken, can make us much humbler when we appear to succeed and much more flexible when things don’t seem to go as per plan. It is ALL practice.

We are told that the tip of the iceberg is connected to the ninety percent hidden beneath the water. Humans are much the same in that most of our being is inapparent except to clairvoyants and seers and sages. So too, is the bulk of the activity in the events and happenings in our lives. Furthermore, the whole of space is filled with beings – fairies and elementals, devas and angels – which sustain, protect and provide for human existence.

The Cayce readings along with so many so-called New Age phenomena attest to the wonders that are typically hidden from our view and understanding. What we eventually recognize is that our mental, emotional and physical existences are but expressions of the Spirit acting in and through matter.  “The Spirit is the life.”

Those facts came home to me increasingly over the years and especially as I worked with symbols during my traveling workshops on The Heart and Soul of Healing. The platforms whence I gathered those teachings really had their beginnings in Phoenix, if not long before – lifetimes before. Like my experiences with medicine and healing, I must have worked with symbols in other times and places. Since they began this time in Phoenix – Egypt reborn, I imagine being involved in divination and spiritual reading anciently in the land of the pharaohs.

I have studied my dreams on a number of occasions and haven’t gotten very far, even while filling many journal pages with entries. My predilection is for working with outer world images. I might reiterate that for me and for many others, the people, events and surrounding environments can offer the most accessible source of symbol work. Our whole lives are symbolic – every facet of them. While dreams are readily available for some, everyone has the potential of utilizing many other symbolic sources by simply studying our lives. By taking the time to interpret the people and activities circling us in a manner as others use to study our dreams. We have constant and endless fodder for study of personal symbols.

There are ever more options and possibilities. Let’s consider some. For one, astrology. Many years ago before computers, I started an astrology study course by correspondence. Erection of horoscopes I found relatively easy even with the old manual method. Today, it’s a snap. Enter a name, place, date and time of birth into a software program and voila. A computer-generated chart along with or without pages and pages of interpretations appear almost like magic. That wasn’t the situation three decades ago. Nonetheless, building a chart was pretty straight forward.

During the few months I pursued the course, the real labor was chart interpretation and that presented two daunting problems. The first was the need to memorize this, that and the other thing. Then and since, I don’t like to memorize. It seems so elementary. Where is the creativity and flow? The second problem was the mass and complexity of information that it seemed to be necessary for the budding astrologer to learn. So much to absorb and retain and spit back up.

After a time, I reflected on the study program and said to myself, “Collecting all this information and mastering even part of it would take my whole lifetime. I haven’t the time to absorb all of this – in the midst of medical training. Maybe next time around.”

So, I let go of astrology. But still retained a taste for the ancient art. I would look at a chart or lay out a spread of tarot cards, on occasion. But, I got the same hit from tarot. “Memorization of predetermined meanings of cards. Ugh! Where is the intuition? Aren’t these supposed to be intuitive arts?”

Still the attraction remained for astrology, tarot and the like. But, my real start at working with the symbols strangely came with the practice of medicine. Instead of being caught up in exams and tests, I was interested in people and process. I became absorbed in looking for the symbolism of their diseases, the meaning of illness, why things happened when they did, the picture which pain and trauma was trying to tell. “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.” (C.S. Lewis)

I remember asking one of my early mentors, “How do you know when a disease has a physical, emotional, mental or spiritual basis?’ I didn’t get a satisfactory answer then. I had to work with the question for quite some time. The best answer seems to be that, “Most – if not all – diseases and injuries have causes and/or influences from all levels.”

How might that be so? Well, quite simply. We humans – like the planet and the rest of the kingdoms around us – are multi-dimensional beings. All of us have many component aspects and levels, however undeveloped they may be. And thus, health as well as illness must have the same aspects. All are connected. One part may be more dominant or apparent than the other. Nonetheless all are important. And, all compose the one. 

“Now, these all are intermingled one with another, for to understand, physically or materially, the conditions as take place within this body, mentally, morally, spiritually, financially, physically, these are a part, one of the other.”
Cayce 294-71

In this lifetime, my real education in symbols began with the study of medicine but more specifically the chakras which themselves picture (symbolize) our inner natures manifesting outwardly through the glands and bloodstream, nervous system and whole body. This doctor believes that every physician should study, whether a believer or not, the centers of consciousness and the inner bodies which they focalize. (Studying astrology, as physicians did for centuries, would also be a useful addition.) Sooner or later, they will then begin to make connections and come to recognize the truth of Cayce’s premier statement: “The spirit is the life, mind is the builder and the physical is the result.”

Having studied the seven centers of consciousness thanks to Cayce’s Revelation teachings, Ray Stanford’s book on The Spirits Unto the Churches, and comparable ones of Alice Bailey, Lama Govinda, and Arthur Avalon, I was able to “teach the chakras” at various venues for some years. Then, I learned about them first-hand in my own life and medical practice, when occasions arose.

The centers of consciousness were key to my learning and teaching because consciousness is the central element in human experience. Consciousness is synonymous with soul-mind, which stands midway between the outer form and the hidden, inner Spirit.
These subtle receivers and transmitters of force are strategically placed in the head and along the spine in the bodies of energy. They transform energies into material force via the seven endocrine glands, associated organs and body regions. The chakras are essential components of the wonderfully-named “Rainbow Bridge” which reaches from heaven to earth. The chakras stand at mediators. So too, do symbols. 

Lama Govinda adds another layer to Cayce’s dictum: “The symbol is the bridge between the literal world and the direct experience of God.” Govinda was aware that the chakras – centers of consciousness – exist in some manner in all creatures, kingdoms, planets and stars. Intercommunication among them all is what makes the worlds go round, whether humans recognize it or not. Thus, chakras are symbols. Like the planets and zodiac, they are generally hidden from view. Yet, the effects of the chakras can be readily recognized for those who care to observe. Some day, effects of the luminaries and stars will be more obvious as well. 

While the chakras span all levels, they also demonstrate consciousness symbolically and can be great teachers of medical practitioners and patients alike. While they create life and health, the centers are key to many diseases and thus potential teachers. Gladys McGarey might say, “Illness has a story to tell and gets a person's attention.”

The Chakras made for a very interesting chapter in my life. Maybe in all of our lives, whether we know it or not. The word has become part of modern vocabulary. But like many new words, it is one that is not well understood even by those who use it regularly. The chakras, also called lotuses and padmas, are wheels of light which radiate vital forces from the inner worlds to the outer body. They are, in that sense, much like the stars in the heavens and the planets of the solar system.

During my early medical practice days, I began to “work with the chakras,” by looking at people to sense how and where they carried their energy. Was energy moving or stuck in this place or that? In what area of the body was the CENTER of a person’s disease? Why was this person expressing this illness at this moment in time? What would it take to produce a change in consciousness, a movement towards healing, a quickening or awakening?

Illnesses – and even injuries – are not accidental. In fact, there are no accidents. Cause creates effect however much we might want to believe that, “She caught a cold,” “I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” or “It was an Act of God.”

It is the person and his/her consciousness which is most important in understanding disease and health. A doctor’s office is a great place to learn about people and their psychology – remembering the psyche refers back soul. Or, so it could be. Too often medical practitioners stress out trying to “diagnose” a patient’s problem through an xray, a screening or a lab test and give it a label. As if the naming would be tantamount to cure.

Such is not the case. Diagnosis rarely gets to the ROOT cause of an ailment. Unless it enters in realms of emotion, mind, spirit – and lifetimes. And, how can we treat or deal with a problem if we don’t know the true cause? Therein lies the fallacy of much modern medical care. We treat without knowing cause. Real causes lie deep within, one layer upon another in time and space. And, that is where the chakras lie. Deep within.

What follows are three examples from the writer’s own life – rather than indirectly from the medical office –  which may give some insight about disease causation and its relationship to centers of consciousness. Many more examples can be given, but these are the author’s own experiences. Maybe you have lived comparable ones.

The reader will remember that most intense and difficult year in my life when was in Family Practice internship at Fort Benning, GA. Astrologically, I was going through my first Saturn return, a perspective of which I was unaware at the time. I had created all sorts of challenges in my training program as well as in my marriage. I struggled, was depressed and frustrated, fearful and uncomfortable in my world and in my body.

It should have been no surprise that I turned YELLOW. It was obvious later, if not then, that my emotions were bubbling over. My solar plexus center was cramped and congested. The liver and spleen and associated parts were then under real challenge.

Only over long years have I learned to live with and express my emotions. Let ‘em out – with some awareness and care for others. As the Gospel of Thomas says, “If you do not bring forth that which is within you, that which is within you will destroy you. If you bring forth that which is within you, that which is within you will heal you.” I am still in the healing process. I am alive and life is the great healer.

Another instructive incident in my personal medical life came several years later after I was divorced and discharged from the Army. I had been having a long-distance relationship with a woman named Suzanne. We were talking about her moving down to Phoenix after a summer trip. I traveled to Denver and we drove off to Chicago with her two young sons for a combined medical convention-vacation excursion.

By the time of our return trip, tensions were building and things just didn’t look promising for a shared future. A combined living arrangement was out of the question. I thought we would discuss the situation when we got back to Denver.

Well, we didn’t have to wait that long. My throat became sore and painful during a short stop along the way at my parents’ home. Looking in the mirror, I “diagnosed” strep throat. No penicillin for me, though. I did not, however, begin a much needed conversation. Suzanne did. She hit the nail on the head. She said we should let it go and part ways in Denver.

Thankfully, I was able to chime in. My energy released and my throat was clear within 24 hours. The throat center through which I channel expressive energy, most obviously through speech, was “choked.” In this instance, another person was there to nudge open the gate. I, however, had to collaborate in the process and open my consciousness.

The major health challenge of my life came during the winter of 2001 when I was 52 years old.  I had been preparing to take a long Walk from Montana to New York City the following summer. In early February, I began to have a heavy, oppressive feeling in and around my chest. I struggled with my discomfort on my own until Easter when the problem came to a head and “I thought I was gonna die.”

At that time, I was imagining my own resurrection. But, there were more stages to pass when I journeyed, with help, to sit with my father who was suddenly taken to the local hospital and found to have a cancer in his chest. Both of us had challenges of the heart center. The details of that episode will be saved for later.

Edgar Cayce might have been able to grapple usefully with these sorts of issues which ultimately revert to ones of the chakras, centers of consciousness. But, few patients and physicians can since their scope of view are limited by our present relatively one-dimensional medical paradigm.

The Heart and Soul of Healing workshops didn’t directly address the chakras and their use as symbols in health and dis-ease. There were plenty of other symbols with which to work during the brief programs. We started with stories and images I had collected over the years. Then after doing a dozen or so programs, I thought to myself, “Maybe there is a way to take some of these symbols and make a tool which can be useful in a one-on-one or even a solitary situation.”


Thus was born Spiritual Diagnosis, SPDX for short. SPDX was an attempt to gather accessible symbols into a layout for anyone who was interested. The SPDX Mandala was my version of a do-it-yourself symbolic tool which appears a bit like a horoscope layout and is a picture of life in the moment. The layout chosen for the Mandala dated back to workshops I did in Billings. The SPDX centers were suggested from studies of the Cayce material and of the Ageless Wisdom.

From a wealth of symbols which I had collected over the years, I prepared a card deck of 264 simple images to which most anyone can relate. The subject gets into a relaxed state and takes the color-coded cards of one center in hands. After shuffling or just holding the cards for a time, he or she lets a “card pick itself.” It is laid face down in the appropriate spot on the layout. The step is repeated with the other eight sets until each spot is covered.

The SPDXer turns over the cards one at a time and gives his/her first impressions relevant to the symbol and the center. Viewers may throw in their own comments, if appropriate. When all cards have been revealed, a host of information can be gleaned by the reader over time.

Immediate and direct information comes quickly with SPDX just by taking the cards, laying them out and considering them by location one at a time. But more can be gained by comparing and correlating adjacent centers or polar ones. All manner of patterns may be recognizable – thus making for the Mandala. The Big Picture is the larger goal.

Greatest benefit may require the use of a printout of the session and study – contemplation – of the chart over time. Then too, it may be useful to do a repeat chart some months later to see how life and experience move through us.

           Bibi SpDx
The attached charts done for Bibi O’Flynn in New York City fit the latter idea in spades. The money bags and the empty pockets speak about Bibi’s common feeling of not having enough. Much of this was perception as she admitted. Thus, the cornucopia shows up to remind her to recognize the abundance which she really does have – financial and otherwise. The symbols in the Way Center tell about the healing work she does and could do more freely. The open arms may suggest being more giving to help recognize her own abundance. 
Within a few days of doing her first SPDX, my friend was asking to do a repeat. Bibi believed she was dealing with the “money” problem – by carrying cash in her pockets and keeping better track of her money. She thought a new reading would show changes. After being stalled for a few weeks, she did a second layout.

The second chart shows the same financial challenge and the same empty pockets. But an additional concern shows as well. At this particular time, Bibi was worrying and praying about a crisis in Europe. With another issue of concern, the reading seems to be suggesting different ways to act.

SPDX can be used by people spanning many age groups and in a variety venues and situations. As long as an individual has interest and an inquiring mind, valuable information and a focus for study rapidly develops once an SPDX is prepared and laid out.

Only two concerns come to mind. 1) Jumping to the easiest and most self-serving interpretation. I remember sharing SPDX at a New Year’s Party many years ago. A few people sat and worked with their symbols for extended periods. When the hostess took her turn, she literally ran through the whole process in a few minutes. She knew exactly what every symbol meant and would brook no other suggestions. I recall her choosing the closed fist symbol for the Dis-Ease Center. Her immediate response was something like, “Oh, that means I need to hold on tight to the ways I am doing things. I can’t let them be changed.” She took the card to be an affirmation of her apparently ‘controlling’ ways rather than as an opportunity for reflection. What she needed to learn may have been otherwise.
A friend did an SPDX with her mother who chose a Lesson Card which most people view as a hand holding a bar of soap. The mother was sure it was a bar of gold and used it to validate her actions. Maybe this woman needed to give rather than “get gold.”

Following on the above observations: 2) While an outsider can often see some of the symbols more clearly, it is difficult or even impossible for the reader to be SHOWN what to see. No matter how true, accurate or on-target an observer may be, it is hard for the querent “to see what he doesn’t want to see.”

Again, we can read into things what we WANT to see as well. This may be the case for some SPDX readings I did for myself down the road as I was slowly developing the concepts and approaches for READING THE STARS symbolically. You decide.


The two layouts which I did by myself almost a YEAR apart certainly suggest major similarities in my life and work over that period. If you look closely at the two mandalas, you will see that they are identical for many of the symbols. And, some of the others are not much different.

The keys to these two charts appeared to be Dis-Ease (Point of Tension) and Way Centers. In the first, the zodiac is depicted which I took to represent my study of the stars and and their symbology. Diagonally across the charts is to be found an old alarm clock with the time of 2:21. That is of interest for a couple reasons, but most particularly because that time corresponds to the Scorpio Rising Horoscope of the United States of America.

There are numerous charts for the USA because strangely no one knows with certainty the birth time of our country. It is generally agreed that the US was born on the 4th of July 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. The Gemini Rising Chart has long held sway as the horoscope for our country. But, the rub is that it places the country’s birth at 2 o’clock in the morning. A very unlikely moment for a convention of public figures to sign an official document. Other supposed birth times for the USA give charts with rising signs of Sagittarius, Virgo, etc.

During my new astrological studies, I ran across Michael O’Reilly’s book Political Astrology and was introduced to his Scorpio Rising Chart based on the nation’s birth at 2:21 PM. Having my own rising sign in Gemini, I was predisposed to go along with the traditional USA Chart. But, the more I read and studied the O’Reilly chart and worked with it in the context of great events in American history, the more I believed it to be correct. 

So, the zodiac and the time of 2:21 appear in my own SPDX twice at a year’s distance. Does that prove the Scorpio Rising Chart to be accurate? What is proof? No, it is hardly proof. But, it sure was impressive and quite unexpected. It definitely got my attention seeing these symbols in my SPDX layouts. And kept me pondering.

Concomitantly, I began trying to read horoscopes symbolically rather than based on rote interpretations laid down ages ago. Each sign and its glyph, each luminary and its emblem, each house and its number as well as the degrees of the planets and cusps have much information to share. They create on paper something akin to what the ancient skywatchers must have gathered as they stared at the dark heavens to ponder the stars and planets in their apparent passages around the Earth. They used direct views of the luminaries as well as their intuitions. My process started by using their symbols for those luminaries. I had also absorbed by then some standard astrology data along the way.

Michael O’Reilly’s Political Astrology book provided several helps on my Pathway to the Stars. The cover of his book offers a striking picture of the Scorpio Rising Chart of the USA by way of placing pictorial symbols at the angles of the American horoscope. It is commonly considered that the angles of a horoscope are of utmost importance. These are the East (Ascendant), West (Descendant), North (Midheaven), and South (Nadir).

Political Astrology

GRAPHIC The images O’Reilly chose for his Scorpio Rising Chart – or the Chart chose for Mr. O’Reilly – begin with the American Eagle inside the Great Seal at the Ascendant (Soul vibration). The eagle (Aquila) is the higher octave expression of Scorpio, which is usually depicted as a scorpion. To date, the American Eagle has much of a militaristic aura to it although it holds olive branches in one claw along with arrows in the other. Some day, the peaceful, protective and farseeing aspect will take hold as the nation matures.

Thence, the nation’s Descendant (Ally or Adversary) is in Taurus, symbolized by the Bull of Merrill Lynch. America will some day learn more to Love Richly rather than to Love Riches. This day will come when the Bull’s Eye is pointed inward and upward.

The Midheaven – America’s public image – is shown by the MGM Lion. Here is an emblem of the star system and cinema, glamor and beauty which has spread out from America and Hollywood and become the “moving picture” of the USA seen around the world. Again, the protective and compassionate nature of Leo must one day supersede the present-day expression. This will occur when the Lion lays down with the Lamb.

At the root of America, however, stands the image of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is the great Aquarian who lived the life of the Humanitarian and Emancipator. The future of the planet is obviously in the Aquarian Age and in Aquarian living. With the foundation of America there, our posterity is assured regardless of the temporary trials and turmoil we most certainly must meet in the 21st century

Fascinated by O’Reilly’s “pictoscope,” I was spurred to do similar ones for friends and for myself. The pictoscope brings forth a different layer of a horoscope. In it, we have both the earth-based images blending into astrological glyphs which seem to pass beyond time and space. With images on the angles, we get an imposing and involving view of an individual. This can help draw forth hints about the zodiacal and planetary signs which lie in and around the angular pictures. The pictoscope caught my attention as it seemed to be a blend standard horoscope and an SPDX mandala.
Robert Pictoscope

Having considered America’s pictoscope, I had to do my own. On the Ascendant, we find an image of Janus, the two-faced Roman God, for Gemini. Hopefully, one face looks inward and the other looks outward. At the Nadir of the chart rests the Sphinx representing Leo in an introspective aspect. In the author’s case, this symbol hints about his generally quiet, contemplative lifestyle. At the Descendant is our friend Uncle Sam who points the way for him to strive towards the goodness and greatness of Sagittarius. Abraham Lincoln (Aquarius at the Midheaven) also reminds him to look out for the betterment others. The Aquarian can however get lost in collective ventures and forget about needs close at hand, sometimes his own.
All is not goodness, truth and beauty in a horoscope or in a life. The energies which flow through our stars and our very being manifest depending upon the vessels through which they pass. The effects of these movements can be diverse and negative as well as beneficial and positive. The angles, cusps, planets and signs are as much challenges to us as they are conveyors of benefices. Nonetheless, more knowledge and insight can lead us to be better family members, neighbors and citizens.

SPDX and Pictorial Astrology are potentially useful for most any bright, thoughtful person interested in self knowledge and discovery. They are tools which spiritual adventurers can add to their kits, expand their horizons inwardly and outwardly. The two join with many others which people today have available to help them read and understand the symbols of their lives.

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